"OH, NO, TOTO!" by Katrin Hyman & Louise Tchana Pami Tchana


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A neat slice of Cameroonian life. Terrible two-year-old Toto can't get enough to eat and can't stay out of trouble. When his grandmother, Big Mami, takes him to market, Toto's business as usual includes knocking over a pile of puffpuffs to get the choicest one from the bottom of the heap, tumbling into a vat of palm oil, and scarfing an entire plate of koki. ""Oh, no, Toto!"" is the refrain, but Big Mami knows that he is ""too little to know any better,"" and can't get mad at the little bundle. Ushered home by his exhausted grandmother, Toto tucks into a pot of egussi soup and inevitably falls asleep. Tchana and Pami breathe life into the West African market scene, introducing readers to some of the local foodstuffs (a glossary of terms is included, along with a recipe for soup) and sprinkle the text with patois: ""Mami Peter! How now?"" The strong oil paintings convey warmth, while Bootman shows a real knack for exaggerated gestures, e.g., Big Mami slapping her forehead at Toto's shenanigans, and even better, Toto's face--forlorn and covetous--as he passes a bowl of vegetables on his way to the bath. A title that teaches through laughter and affection.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Scholastic